Sunday, April 20, 2008

Chapter 1

The summer between middle school and high school, I don’t think I had ever been more excited. I was really looking forward to all of the new people I would meet, the new adventures I would experience, the new people and things I would get to beat up.

Well, my sister said, that wouldn’t fly in High school. All summer I had seen her and my mother having animated discussions in other rooms of the house that I could quite hear but were obviously about me. I could tell by the furtive glances they’d shoot at me as they were talking. It was not in my nature to worry about problems that weren’t brought to my immediate attention though, so I didn’t. I didn’t, that is, until my sister came into my room one hot July day and decided to start to have "the talk" with me. "Lola", Aicelle said, "You’re going to have to be more of a, well, girl once you get to high school, or boys will never like you."

"Why would I want boys to like me?" I asked her, "I have all the friends I need. And, in my experience, boys liking girls and girls liking boys leads to nothing but trouble; horrible, dramatic trouble that I usually get sucked into. I don’t want that kind of trouble, and I am very determined to avoid it."

Aicelle thought about this for a moment, a long moment; it seemed I had made a salient point that she had not really expected. "Well, yes to an extent you are right; High school relationships most often end in fighting and tears, but it is something that you are going to want. I… we, you’re Mother and I, we just don’t want you to be lonely; you could start by wearing something other than black."

There’s something you have to understand about my mother and my sister; they both graduated from Bankai Regional High School, the same place I was about to start attending. My mother, Floy Velasquez at the time, graduated 25 years ago, my sister, Aicelle Velasquez-Ramirez, graduated this year, and I, Lola Velasquez-Ramirez, was expected to pick up the torch of the Velasquez women at BRHS. My mother and sister ruled that school like royalty. They were both Prom Queen, they were both voted Most Popular, and they both ruled the social scene with an iron fist. They decided who was popular and who wasn’t, they decided who dated who, they decided who got into what clubs… I think they even had say over who played in the football games on Friday nights. I saw both of their yearbooks, and to be honest, my mother and sister represent everything I detest about what I’ve heard of high school. And that’s the main reason I was unconcerned about what my mother and sister were talking about because concerning me and high school; I already had an idea. They are deathly afraid that I’m going to ruin their legacy as a Velasquez woman at BRHS. And the truth is I have every intention to. I don’t want to be belle of the ball; I don’t want to be High School royalty, all that crap sounds lame to me, and my mother and sister have been arguing all summer over who gets to try and convince me to stop being me and to try and be a true Velasquez woman. I know they were hoping I’d grow out of being the awesome person I am, and I am so looking forward to disappointing them.

"…and you’re really kind of wasting your potential. I mean you’re sooo pretty, and you really are very intelligent, you’re smarter at your age than I was at your age…"

"I’m smarter than you are now ‘celle."

Aicelle sighed and sat next to me while I played Capcom vs SNK on my PS3, "look Lola, I just don’t want you do get swallowed up and be unhappy. High School is a jungle, and if you aren’t the strongest, you end up being the weakest. I know this may sound like a lecture but seriously, High School’s no joke, I’m really trying to look out for you. I just graduated so I know what I’m talking about. Just think about it ok?"

I paused my game and addressed my sister, "Look ate, I know you and nanay are just doing what you think is best, but I’m 13, and I really like myself. I don’t plan on changing who I am for anybody or anything, least of all High school. I respect your experience, but I know myself better than anyone. I’ll be fine. And I respect what you and nanay have done, but I want to make my own destiny… I don’t want to be another Velasquez woman, I want to be a new one, My own woman."

Aicell looked at in a way she never had before; it was a look that bordered on respect, but even I could not believe that my sister would look at me with respect. Still, she then said "OK, if that’s the way you want it. But if you ever want advice, I’ll be here for you."

"Thanks. I won’t but thanks for the offer." I unpaused my game and finished what I was doing. Aicelle lingered in my doorway for a few minutes, then went about her business as well. "Hm", I though, "I wonder if that’s what people call ‘bonding’".